Institutional responsibilities: providing placement for international students

Bella Ross, Binh Ta, Louise Oliaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Recent years have seen a rapid increase in the number of international students studying health professional degrees such as social work in Australia and internationally. Research indicates that placement educators perceive that extra time and effort is required to support international students on placement due to, for example, language barriers and cultural and educational differences. This paper reports on findings from a nationwide study investigating the experiences and support needs of placement educators who supervise international social work students. The data consists of 15 in-depth interviews and 66 survey responses from placement educators across Australia. Findings reveal that placement educators feel pressure from education providers to supervise international students, yet they also feel they lack support from the education provider to do so adequately. Placement educators cite a need to increase contact and coordination between agencies and education providers, including clarity around the education providers’ expectations of their supervision. Placement educators want closer working relationships between agencies and education providers to ensure rewarding and enriching experiences for both students and placement educators. Such findings suggest that increased institutional support for, and collaboration with, placement educators is required to sustainably maintain quality placements for international students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-680
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • clinical placements
  • field education
  • international students
  • placement education
  • placement supervision
  • Social work education

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